The Ford Reflex proves that small cars can be bold, American and innovative. The sporty concept is expected to be an auto show star, reflecting a growing and important "small is big" trend in America.
Ford Reflex is a technological showcase with its advanced diesel-electric hybrid engine – delivering up to 65 miles per gallon – solar panels, flexible interior made from synthetic and regenerated materials, and such advanced safety features as inflatable safety belts in the rear.
Reflex underscores the bold, American design direction for all Ford vehicles going forward. It also is packed with Ford innovation.
"Ford Reflex is a small car that doesn’t feel small," says Freeman Thomas, director, North American Strategic Design. "It is a gorgeous sporty car that delivers guilt free performance with a hybrid engine. And thanks to its innovative approach to the interior, it has space for growing families."
Reflex is set off with Ford’s three-bar grille – made of high-strength anodized extruded aluminum, which is hand polished to a matte finish. The concept’s shoulder line flows upward to the B-pillar and back down into the wheel arch. Reverse butterfly doors aid vehicle ingress and egress.
Reflex’s aggressive 20-inch wheels are polished alloy. The large diameter, narrow width and unique Michelin tire design provide low-roll resistance for improved fuel economy.
Lightweight, space-efficient materials define the interior with its innovative 2+1 backseat configuration. Mesh seat covers are transparent and sheer, offering maximum airflow for comfort and style. Unexpected colors – red and robotic white – create a sense of warmth and accessibility.
"The interior of Reflex is modern, with no wood and leather," says Thomas. "The color and materials challenge many of today’s dark plastic interiors by offering a blend of warm and cool colors. It is a fresh approach that will inspire future trends in many industries, including fashion and home furnishings."
Ford’s experimental inflatable safety belts provide a broader contact area with the potential to spread impact forces across the chest, further reducing the chances of injury. The small, tubular-shaped inflatable bag deploys inside the shoulder belt in the event of a crash.
Reflex takes safety innovation a major step forward. Advanced safety technologies include inflatable safety belts and BeltMinder™ for backseat passengers. The inflatable safety belt helps reduce injury risk to second-row occupants. Ford’s patented BeltMinder™ technology alerts the driver when second-row occupants are not buckled up.
Understanding that the responsibilities of a parent don’t end once the car starts, Reflex designers added a strategically placed "baby cam" in the headliner. From this vantage point, the driver can see streaming video images of the rear-seat occupants.
Reflex features an advanced diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system that harnesses diesel, electric and solar power. This combination of power can deliver maximum fuel economy – up to 65 mpg – without compromising performance.
The concept features an electric motor on the rear axle in addition to the hybrid propulsion system on the front axle. The rear motor provides all-wheel-drive capability, improved driving dynamics and the fuel economy benefits of a full hybrid vehicle.
The Ford Reflex concept features solar panels in the headlamps and taillamps that recharge the hybrid-electric battery pack, and solar panels in the roof that power electric fans to cool the interior while the vehicle is parked.
Reflex’s energy is stored in a new-generation lithium-ion battery pack, using the same technology found in cell phones. Ford was the first manufacturer to produce an electric vehicle using this type of battery system when it introduced the electric Ford Ka research vehicle in 2000. Also contributing to Reflex’s power and performance are unique headlamps and taillamps that integrate solar panels. The Ford-patented battery-charging lighting system improves fuel economy by using the sun’s power to charge the on-board batteries, while capturing and reusing the daylight at night.